For the first time, scientists were able to observe X-rays from Uranus. The discovery generated a new image of the planet and opens doors to the study of other phenomena such as black holes, supernovae and ion stars.
The study was published by the scientific journal JGR Physics and led by astronomer Willian Dunn of University College London. The rays were observed by NASA’s Chandra telescope, in orbit with the earth since 1999 and specially prepared to capture waves of that length.
Now, the only planet with this wave frequency not yet captured is Neptune, which was mentioned in the study, but scientists have chosen to observe Uranus due to the closest proximity to our planet.
Photo: Reproduction / NASA
For this article, data captured in three measurements between 2002 and 2017 were compared. Then, rays emanating from both the atmosphere and the ring that surrounds the giant icy planet were identified.
For the origin of these waves, scientists raised two hypotheses: the interaction of protons and electrons that bathe the planet composed mainly of helium and hydrogen, with the materials that form the outer ring or in a phenomenon similar to what happens on Earth with the rays being generated at dawn.
However, as the planet is the only one in our systems that has its axis of rotation tilted and rotates sideways, its magnetic field is affected and the capture of x-rays by the atmosphere can be affected and complicate the studies.
If this origin is discovered, many mysteries of Uranus will be revealed to science. Telescopes and wave emissions have been the only form of study on the planet since the expedition that sent the Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1986 to its orbit.
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